When people think of archaeology, they typically think of people labouring in the hot sun, or maybe underground. But those excavating the ancient Egyptian city of Heracleion have exchanged their sunblock for scuba gear.
According to science writer Laura Geggel, the lost city was first discovered off the coast of Alexandria, Egypt in 2000, and has been the subject of regular excavations ever since. Despite the tough working conditions, the drowned city routinely reveals wonders, including mostly recently the remains of a temple, gold jewellery, coins and the missing piece of a ceremonial boat.
Anne-Sophie von Bomhard writes in the Journal of Egyptian Archaeology about some of the more fascinating discoveries from Heracleion.
The city, named for the ancient Greek hero Heracles, spanned a period of Egyptian history before and during Greek influence.
Its Egyptian name was Thonis and the city is frequently referred to as Thonis-Heracleion. Intricate ceramics have been found, including a glazed, highly realistic-looking cobra.
Some seemingly mundane discoveries, such as walls, have provided some of the most telling information. Combined with studies of sediments, the walls reveal that the city apparently consisted of different districts, separated by waterways. One massive temple sat along the banks of a massive waterway that archaeologists have dubbed “The Grand Canal.” The Grand Canal connected a port/harbour to a large natural lake, sort of like modern-day Seattle.
Within the canal and the ports, shipwrecks and maritime artifacts have been discovered.